From TPM Cafe:
Secretary Rice traveled to Capitol Hill today to testify, for the first time ever, on the biggest foreign policy issue confronting our nation: Iraq. In her opening statement, Rice said this about our objectives:
We know our objectives. We and the Iraqi Government will succeed if together we can:
-- Break the back of the insurgency so that Iraqis can finish it off without large-scale military help from the United States.
-- Keep Iraq from becoming a safe haven from which Islamic extremists can terrorize the region or the world.
-- Demonstrate positive potential for democratic change and free expression in the Arab and Muslim worlds, even under the most difficult conditions.
-- And turn the corner financially and economically, so there is a sense of hope and a visible path toward self-reliance.
Now, read that again, and tell me if this is serious.
Let's remember, there was no insurgency in Iraq before we invaded the country and then totally bungled the aftermath. And there was little chance of Iraq becoming a safe haven for terrorists before we invaded the country and then totally bungled the aftermath. In other words, our first two objectives in Iraq are to undo the disaster our own actions and inactions created!
As for the remaining objectives, demonstrating the "positive potential for democratic change and free expression" is a very long cry from establishing a viable democracy in the heart of the Arab world, which a couple of years ago was declared the official aim of our continued involvement in Iraq. And "turning the corner financially and economically," though difficult, doesn't strike me as setting the bar terribly high.
Which leaves me with this thought: the limited nature of these objectives suggests that the administration may finally be realizing the extraordinary disaster we're in and is trying, desperately, to find a way to declare victory so we can get out.